Thursday, August 6, 2020

Why I traveled during Covid-19

This is not a cautionary tale. This is a humble brag... An anecdote about deciding to travel by air, from one state to another, during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is not my intent to downplay the seriousness of coronavirus and dismiss the risks of exposure, but just for the record, my personal going places and doing things via air plane was pretty uneventful. Unless I don’t count my return Lyft with a driver who was unmasked and talkative about the COVID conspiracy. Fortunately, I was cloaked to the nines.

I was more concerned about flying back to the Texas red zone on August 1st than when I flew into Chicago on June 20th during this Covid-19 pandemic. Texans are generally hardheaded and we think we know better what’s right. It’s probably why I felt okay getting to/from the airport in Dallas via ride-share in the first place. But my birthday was coming up and my daughter was anxious to get me to where she was. Chicago was a safe place to travel to and Southwest was flying there.

I didn’t expect to stay as long as I did. I packed for a month, thinking I might not return to Texas at all. Every time I go to Chicago I never want to leave. That place has a vacation destination soul, and the working people aren’t offended by tourists unless they ask for ketchup on their hotdogs. You won’t get any, so just don’t ask. 

Maybe I’ve lived there in a past life. I’ve been back in Dallas less than a week and I regret leaving that city. I felt cleaner and healthier and saner there.

Departing Dallas for Chicago, and departing Chicago for Dallas; Southwest Airlines was stellar in service and on-timeless, as was airport staff and the TSA peeps. Well TSA is always a little tense, seemingly waiting for the defiant ones of us to show up so they can exercise brutal force to get things under control. Yes, that’s my current perspective. Movement through both MIDWAY and DALLAS LOVE airports was effortless, so I had no reason to have an attitude anyway. Ample travelers about and everyone distanced and masked with no one in a rush. Unexpected delight.

I didn’t need to touch a thing except my phone and driver’s license before boarding the plane, but of course the seat belt buckle, the armrests, the seat back tray and window shade made me wonder how deep Southwest cleans between flights. There were no real or literal signs of assurance like the smell of Pine Sol or some industrial disinfectant to signify any effort. At this point, I had no choice but to trust them. And I’m the one person I know who pays attention to flight attendant instructions every single flight, but I’m certain there was no mention of airline covid cleaning operations and preparations to ingratiate passengers.  I thought it, but didn’t care enough to ask. To be honest, I had already reconciled that I could be one to get coronavirus and die from it just by being in public to this degree or the lesser degree of going grocery shopping or to Starbucks or taking possession of dropped off packages at my front door. Just in case, I Sharpie tattooed “DNR” on my chest and told my daughter my wishes.

Just kidding. About the tattoo.

I wasn’t trying to tempt fate by traveling during this pandemic. This trip was essential to making time for my 26 year old. It’s been a hard year since we’d been together. She needed me and I needed to see again with my own two eyes, the wonder of her existence. I needed to find out that I’d become allergic to her husky. I needed her to feel that no matter her level of professional and personal success, or her struggles, I will be ever present, as “mom.”

As risky as the travel by flight may have been, the trip was an occasion that strengthened our mother-daughter bond. Her hospitality was joyous and keen. I watched her do my laundry, work from home, manage some serious neighborhood racial terrorism, overcome virtual workplace adversity, help me with an audio-visual presentation and encourage me through my higher education decision. We came to a greater understanding of each other. We cried about past situations and affirmed our boundaries with each other and the folks in each of our worlds. I read to her revealing mommy blogger posts I published years ago with the world, that she was never privy to. She told me some inner most secrets and hurts of her childhood and adulthood. Our ebbs and flows of sharing was tumultuous for a solid day. We were overwhelmed yet thankful and more in love by the end of it. What better way to find our ancestors and the Catholic, Buddha, Christian and Pagan God of miracles surrounding and protecting us?

In some strange way, this Covid-19 pandemic will prove to be a symbol of solidarity for those of us it doesn’t destroy. And the year 2020 will turn out to be a treasure more than it is a tragedy, I’m sure of it. So be grateful if you can.


And P.S.. help stop the political bullsh*t in this country. Are you Registered to vote?

 Anyone can teach you about love..but I can make you good at it.

| This original photo & prose by Jackie D. Rockwell |All Rights Reserved © 2008-2020 |